“Stratos, Can I be a HERO too?” ~Zombies

Kalen NelsonEver since the release of Crossroads of Chaos, Zombies have been somehow surviving and seeing at least some play in every format. As fun and powerful as some of the Zombies are, they haven't really seen any competitive success since the limiting of [ccProd]Plaguespreader Zombie[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Mezuki[/ccProd]. Slowly, the Forbidden and Limited list has forgiven Zombies for the show of force they had back in their prime and both of the key monsters I listed above have come completely off of the list altogether. Unfortunately, that still wasn't enough of a boost to push them back over the top to be able to compete with the likes of Dragon Rulers, Fire Fists and Mermails. So what has changed that made me comfortable enough to take the deck to a Regional this past weekend? They finally have an answer for their late game weakness when they've exhausted their resources.

Dragonecro Nethersoul Dragon is one of those cards that many people probably despise right now because they pulled it instead of a Beelze or Slifer from their Premium Gold packs. Even a number of Zombie players that I'm friends with ignored the card altogether simply because it was a Fusion monster, and who wants to run Polymerization right? Well, still not many people, BUT we do have an even better way to bring him out. Thanks to MegaCapitalG I was alerted to the synergy that Dragonecro and [ccProd]Dragon's Mirror[/ccProd] have. That's actually the best part about Dragonecro is that he is a Dragon! Dragon's Mirror works awfully similarly to the number one most hated top deck card in the game (at least from the people I've talked to). Miracle Fusion! With Stratos being Forbidden to the Shadow Realm everybody said that Heroes were dead. I now disagree and say they are undead!


2 Zombie-Type monsters
Must first be Fusion Summoned. Monsters cannot be destroyed by battle with this card. At the end of the Damage Step, if this card battled a monster that has an original Level: That monster's ATK becomes 0, also, if that monster is still face-up on the field, Special Summon 1 "Dark Soul Token" (Zombie-Type/DARK/Level ?/ATK ?/DEF 0). (When Summoned, its Level and ATK become equal to the original Level and ATK of that monster.) You can only control 1 "Dragonecro Nethersoul Dragon".

Before I go further let me show you the decklist that I have been testing as of late with this new found boss monster.
[ccDeck="Main Deck"]3 Zombie Master
2 Pyramid Turtle
3 Goblin Zombie
3 Mezuki
2 Effect Veiler
1 Plaguespreader Zombie
1 Bone Crusher
1 Endless Decay
1 Dark Armed Dragon
1 Blue Blooded Oni
1 Shutendoji

3 Zombie World
3 Dragon's Mirror
1 Foolish Burial
1 Book of Life
1 Book of Moon
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
3 Forbidden Lance
1 Creature Swap
1 Mind Control
1 Dark Hole

3 Royal Decree[/ccDeck] [ccDeck="Extra Deck"]2 Lavalval Chain
2 Number 101: Silent Honor ARK
1 Evilswarm Exciton Night
3 Dragonecro Nethersoul Dragon
1 Doomkaiser Dragon
1 Powered Inzektron
1 Beelze of the Diabolic Dragons
1 Number 66: Master Key Beetle
1 Gagaga Cowboy
1 Abyss Dweller
1 Number 82: Heartlandraco[/ccDeck]

What you see above you is one of my favorite decks that I've played in a long time, but also an incredibly difficult deck to master. All you need to go off into a major combo is a live [ccProd]Zombie Master[/ccProd] on field and either a Mezuki or your [ccProd]Blue-Blooded Oni[/ccProd] in your hand or graveyard. Instead of trying to explain what I mean, I will just use a play that I made at the regional.

My opponent has Tefnuit, Gaia Dragon and a defense position 0/0 Darkness Metal Dragon. He attacks my facedown [ccProd]Goblin Zombie[/ccProd], dealing a significant amount of damage (3650 to be exact) but allowing me to search for the last piece in my puzzle, Zombie Master. He ended his turn with me activating Royal Decree in the End Phase. I summoned Zombie Master and used his effect to discard Mezuki so I could special summon the Goblin Zombie. I consolidated the two into Lavalval Chain and detached Zombie Master to send Oni to the graveyard. I banished Mezuki to special summon Oni before using Oni's effect to detach Goblin Zombie and special summon Zombie Master from my grave. I used Zombie Master's effect again to discard Plaguespreader and special summon the Goblin Zombie again. I overlay the Master and Oni into Number 101 and absorb the Gaia Dragon. I then activated Miracle... I mean, Dragon's Mirror and banished Zombie Master and Oni to special summon Dragonecro! Entering my Battle Phase I attack Tefnuit with Necro, creating a lvl 6 Token and dropping his attack to 0. Then Lavalval Chain, 101 and the Token attack for a grand total of 6900 damage after sending Goblin Zombie to destroy the defense position Dr. Red. In main phase 2 I set a second Dragon's mirror to the top of my deck to special summon Plaguespreader and syncro'd with the token to make Beelze! The Hieratic player folded pretty much immediately afterwards.

Pretty crazy plays right? Bear in mind also that was the THIRD turn of the game and I was not able to procure a second Lavalval Chain before the tournament started. The deck is designed to get to the pieces of the combo puzzle as fast as possible through Foolish Burial, Lavalval Chain and the Goblin Zombie/[ccProd]Pyramid Turtle[/ccProd] duo. Now, just like Infernities the deck is fairly weak until it can get its combo off, or at least it can be. Cards like Creature Swap and Forbidden Lance help to make your fairly weak monsters into assets while Zombie World let's Zombie Master start making XYZ plays through your opponent's graveyard instead of your own (this can actually lead to some amazing OTKs if you have to go second). Before you ask, I did consider "Hobaning" in this deck, but I felt that [ccProd]Reckless Greed[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Upstart Goblin[/ccProd]s didn't do as much for me as Royal Decree and maxing out on S/T hate would.

Speaking of S/T hate I would go out on a limb and say that combo stopping traps like [ccProd]Solemn Warning[/ccProd], [ccProd]Bottomless Trap Hole[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Fiendish Chain[/ccProd] are easily the deck's greatest weakness. Since this is a Combo oriented deck it needs to be able to summon monsters unabated. Thankfully with 3 Mezuki the deck doesn't suffer as much hurt from Solemn Warning and Fiendish Chain as it used to. Solemn Warning hurts a lot less when you have 3 [ccProd]Monster Reborn[/ccProd]s sitting in your deck/hand/graveyard and chances are you have found some way to get one to the grave to keep your play going. Since Zombie Master can still pay his cost when his effect is negated, you can discard a Mezuki to the grave to bring back another monster and continue your combo. The deck also has a difficult time with floodgate cards after game 1. Cards like [ccProd]Kaiser Colosseum[/ccProd], [ccProd]Vanity's Emptiness[/ccProd], [ccProd]Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Soul Drain[/ccProd] all help to shut down your strategy, but between Mystical Space Typhoons, Forbidden Lances, Royal Decrees and the handy-dandy [ccProd]Bone Crusher[/ccProd] the deck doesn't fall prey to these cards as much as it has in the past.

Last thing I want to talk about is my Regional performance. It was, well, not stellar due to a number of factors. Despite all the articles that others on this very site have written or that I have read I was not 'prepared' for this regional in pretty much every way. I was missing the Exciton, 1 ARK and the 2nd Lavalval Chain as well as my main decked Bone Crusher. In addition to that I got into town at 2:30am the day of the regional and woke up at 7am so I could run around trying to complete my deck as people showed up to the regional. To top all of that off I didn't eat Breakfast AND was still getting used to an upped dosage on my anti-depressants so I was overthinking and underthinking all of my plays for the whole day. All of the matches that I lost throughout the day were entirely winnable situations that I misplayed my way into. I'll be taking this deck to the Ft. Worth regional at the end of April with some additional modifications, so hopefully there I will be able to show you guys the real power that I see in this deck and Dragonecro. Granted, 5-3 at the end of the day isn't terrible for the first time playing a deck in real life, but it certainly isn't where I wanted to be with it.

Thank you guys for reading, and don't forget that the ARG Circuit series makes its next stop in Richmond, VA on April 26th/27th so come out and see us all (minus myself) there! Click the picture below for all the details. I'll be watching the event in between rounds in Ft. Worth on twitch.tv/ARGLive just like you should be doing too! Again, thanks for reading and remember to Play Hard, or Go Home.


Kalen Nelson
Head of Press Staff for ARG Circuit events. I enjoy long walks on the beach, Party Hard by Andrew W.K and making awesome live commentary for the ARG LiveStream. Always feel free to come hit me up at events and say hi!